© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

Orchard to provide ‘better access to local food’

Antoinette Spicer
Orchard Planting
Planting at the Otakaro Orchard.  Peanut Productions Photography

Developers of a new city centre orchard believe up to forty percent of Cantabrians lack acess to healthy food.

Ōtākaro community orchard was formed after a tender as an anchor project for the rebuild from Canterbury Earthquake Recover Authority.

The Food Resilience Network, a collaborative group of 30 organisations, has driven the project for the past three years.

A spokesperson, Peter Wells, said the project was the result of the food insecurity caused by the earthquakes.

"Up to 40 percent of Cantabrians struggle to access food, so this project emerged as one of the direct responses to give people better access to local food."

Wells said the orchard was a public place where people could come and harvest food. He urged people to respect the space and not take more than what they needed.

"It’s pretty easy to come through here and walk away with a couple of golden queen peaches, discovery apples or some gooseberries or even some medicinal herbs."

However, Wells said funding was a challenge for the project.

"It’s hard to achieve a long-term vision while running around with your hand out, so that’s definitely a challenge."

Volunteer, Gordon Hamblyn, said time pressure and building a community was also difficult.

Hamblyn said now that the community had something to show, people were starting to get very interested.

The orchard's first planting day earlier this year attracted close to a hundred people.

Hamblyn hoped the orchard would foster "a sense of community" focused on growing and eating healthy local produce. 


Orchard Planting2
The orchard is a community-based venture. Peanut Productions Photography